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Monday, May 21, 2012

Who knew? How to... Strawberry Raspberry Mint Shrub

A shrub? A plant? No, a drinking shrub. A drinking vinegar that lends itself beautifully to enhance sparkling water, lemonade, rum or champagne. I had never heard of a shrub (the drinking kind, duh) until just a few months ago. I was instantly curious and smitten. And then I completely forgot about shrubs, drinking and otherwise, and got on something else. 

Thankfully, my latest Organic Gardening magazine arrived to slap me back into my dreamy state of wonder concerning shrubs. In a really lovely piece about Gustavus Inn in Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska (now on the bucket list), there was a recipe for Raspberry Shrub. 


Obsession over shrubs became commonplace and I searched far and wide (okay, just internet searching) for the right combination of flavors and the precise way to make a shrub. Let me tell you, there is no 'precise' way to make a shrub. The main ingredients don't really change - fruit, vinegar, sugar - but the process in which to make a shrub can be done in a variety of ways. 

I took an easy, more relaxed path. A longer path. And the results were splendid!

Shrubs last and last when refrigerated. Make a few varieties now and they'll last through the summer cocktail parties and lemonade stands.

Here's our recipe:
Strawberry Raspberry Mint Shrub
2 C organic strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 C organic raspberries
2 C sugar
1 3/4 C organic apple cider vinegar
1/4 C roughly chopped mint leaves

To start, place your prepared strawberries and raspberries in a large, nonreactive bowl (I used a glass bowl). Gently press on the fruit with a spoon until every piece is a bit muddled. Add the sugar and stir to coat thoroughly. Cover your bowl tightly and set in a cool, dark spot to macerate for 1 to 2 days.

After 1 to 2 days, add your vinegar and mint and stir to combine. Again, cover the bowl tightly and allow the mixture to meld together for about 7-10 days. The flavor with be intense and tangy within the first few days, by days 7-10, things have mellowed and the flavor should be just right.

Strain your liquid/fruit mixture through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth, pressing on the fruit to extract as much juice as possible. Discard your fruit and mint. Pour shrub into a clean bottle or jar with a tight fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator. 

Consider this shrub your drink enhancer. Add it to sparkling water, seltzer water or lemonade. Kick up your cocktails by adding to champagne, gin, tequila or vodka containing drinks. Enjoy!

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